LENOX LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
cEN TEN W/
p 1767 1967 *
This Book is respectfully dedicated
Lenox Shakespeare Club
FLORENCE DYER ROGERS
who, in 1905, helped to found the Club,
and was the sole survivor to celebrate
its 60th Anniversary
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Old Town Hall
New Town Hall
Old St. Anne's
New St. Anne's
Paterson Monument (1892)
Lenox in Snowtime
Trinity Church, (old)
Trinity Church, (now)
St. Vincent de Paul
Old Lenox Club
Present Community Center
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Our Lady of Mercy Seminary
Old Academy 1803
Frelinghuysen House (1890)
Lenox School, (now)
John Sloane Estate
Cranwell School, present
Wheatleigh (Music Inn)
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Peters Block (Old Savings Bank)
Lenox Savings Bank, (now)
Avery's Store, Lenoxdale
Crystal Street, Lenoxdale
i 7 6 7 • - - PROGRAM
Sunday, 200th Anniversary Incorporation of Lenox.
First Day Covers, Picturing Church on the Hill.
Saturday, Town Hall, 2:00 P.M. Re-Creation of First Town
Meeting at Log Cabin of Israel Dewey, East Street. Sponsored
by Past Selectmen.
Saturday, Bicentennial Ball to be held at the Curtis Hotel.
Services of Worship Based on Worship as it Was Held in This
Community 200 Years Ago in Lenox.
High School play.
Sunday, 10:30 A.M. Services Jn All Churches As Held In This
Community 200 Years Ago.
2.00 P. M. Mammoth Bi Centennial Parade, With Name Bands
and Floats Starting at Church on the Hill and disbanding at
Lee Road and Walker.
George Bisacca, Marshal
AUGUST 19 and 20-
Bicentennial Flower Show Sponsored by Lenox Garden Club.
Lenox Grange and Lenox Horticultural Society Saturday 3:00
P.M. and Sunday 1:00 P.M.
Information About Other Program Events Will be Published in the
Berkshire Eagle and Carried by Local Radio Stations
Old Bull Block (before fire)
Amoskeag Engine Horse Drawn Pumper
Lenox Engine No. 5 (1966)
Corner Main and Housatonic Streets (1900)
Hagyard Corner, (present)
Aspinwall Hotel (1920)
Center School (1895)
Center School (1966)
. :.. , ■ ■ ..■». ■
Lenox Elementary School (1966)
Morris School (1961)
Old High School (1909-1966)
Lenox Memorial High School, Sept. 18, 1966
Grace Methodist Church, Lenoxdale
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Tub Parade (1894)
Liberty Bell Parade (1923)
Class of 1909 at the Bowl
Walt Coakley, Walter Lewis, Joe Walsh (1925)
i-i ;s " ; '
Ripley's Believe It or Not
Street Signs after 188 years
Business District Wiped Out;
Blaze- Spreads Through Town
By STUART C. AUERBACH
LENOX — Fifty years ago today the center of the Lenox
business district was destroyed in a fire that killed six per-
sons and did between $200,000 and $300,000 worth of damage.
Easter Sunday Morning
The fire is believed to have
started by spontaneous combustion
at about 1 a.m. Easter Sunday
morning. At the time of the
holocaust, other theories were
set forth. A Pittsfield fire chief
thought a defective chimney start-
ed the blaze and some persons
believed burglars robbing Klipp's
Jewelry Store set the fire to cover
Because of the disaster, Lenox,
which had never had a fire de-
partment, started a volunteer com-
pany. The present chief, Oscar
R. Hutchinson, was named head
of the company when it was
formed June 21, 1909.
The Easter fire burned out an
area bounded by Franklin Street
on the north, Hous atonic Street
on the south, Church Street on
the east and Main' Street on the
The blaze started in the Clif-
ford Block, the present site of
the Clifford Lumber Co., Duffin's
Hardware Store and Gift Gallery.
It spread to the north and gutted
the Mahanna Block, the only brick
structure on the street. South of
the Clifford Block, the Eddy Block
— now used as a parking lot by
William B. Bull Sons — was de-
A shift in the wind from the
southwest to the northwest saved
the Lenox Library and the Curtis
Hotel. Several parties of New
York and Boston socialites were
guests at ttie hotel for the Easter
firemen said the 10 minutes be-
tween Miss Mahanna 's call and
Selectman Stanley's call was uspd
to round up* a team of horses to
pull the steamer.
Pittsfield sent a steamer, a hose
wagon, 1,500 feet of hose and six
men to the fire. Chief Thomas
Hayden led the Lee apparatus up
to Lenox. It took 30 minutes for
the 50 men, two hosecarts, a
steamer and 1,000 feet of hose to
make the trip. The Richmond Fire
Department also responded. The
fire wasn't brought under control
until 4 a.m.
Other Structures Damaged
Besides the three blocks de-
stroyed on Main Street, the homes
of Joseph Regnier and Mrs. Rose
Colbert, a blacksmith shop, an ice
stacl^ and other small structures
were burned. The homes of Mrs.
Theodore Cowhig and Benjamin H.
Rogers were badly damaged.
Joseph T. Cowhig recalls how a
garden hose was played on the
steaming roof of his mother's
house— next to Gregory's Market-
to keep it from catching fire.
When the inch thick board that
formed the sides of the ice stack
burned, he remembers, the frozen
layer of sawdust fell away from the
oiles of ice. But the ice didn't melt,
VIr. Cowhig said.
Horses Set Fr«*ft
Horses from livery stables in the
area were let loose when the own-
ers feared their stables would
burn. Sydney W. Tillotson turned
loose 60 horses without halters,
Cowhig' s Stables turned loose 12
and Timothy E. Mahanna a few
The next day Tillotson 's horses
were found scattered as far south
as Great Barrington. Cowhig's
horses were found near the present
site of Pleasant Valley Bird Sanc-
tuary. Others were located on Oc-
ACT OF GENERAL COURT, INCORPORATING TOWN OF LENOX
ANNO REGNI REGIS GEORGII
TERTII SEAL SEPTIMO
AN ACT FOR Incorporating the Easterly part of the Town of Richmond
in the County of BERKSHIRE into a District by the name of LENOX.
WHEREAS it has been represented to this Court that the Incorporating the
Easterly part of the Town of Richmond in the County of Berkshire will great-
ly contribute to the growth thereof, and remedy many inconveniencies to
which the inhabitants and proprietors nay otherwise be subjected.
Sec. 1. BE IT therefore Enacted by the Governor, Council and House of
Representatives: That the inhabitants of the Easterly part of the Town of
Richmond in the County of BERKSHIRE bounded as follows, Viz: Beginning
at the Southwest corner of that part of said Town of Richmond formerly
called Yokun Town, thence North by the needle to the Southwest corner of
Lot Number Twenty in the second division in said Yokun Town, thence East
eight degrees South to the Southeast corner of said lot, thence North nine
degrees east to the Northeast corner of Lot Number Twenty One in said
Second Division in said Yokun Town, thence North by the needle to the
Northwest corner of Lot Number Forty Three in said Second Division thence
east nine degrees south to the Southeast corner of the same lot, thence north-
erly to the northeast corner of Lot Number forty seven i in said Division,
which is in the dividing line between the Town of Pittsfield and said Town
of Richmond, be and they hereby are incorporated into a separate District
by the name of Lenox, and that the inhabitants thereof be vested with all
the powers, privileges and immunities which the inhabitants of any Town
in this Province do or by law, ought to enjoy, excepting only the privilege of
sending a Representative to General Assembly; and that the inhabitants of
said District shall have the liberty from time to time to join with the Town
of Richmond in the choice of a Representative or Representatives, which
representatives may be chosen indifferently from said Town or District, the
pay or allowance of said Representative to be borne by said Town or District
according to their respective proportions of the Province Tax, and that the
Town of Richmond as often as they shall call a meeting for the choice ,of
Representatives shall from time to time give seasonable notice to the Clerk
of said District of Lenox for the time being of the time and place for hold-
ing said meeting to the end that the said District may join therein; and the
Clerk of said District shall set up in some public place in said District a
no:ification thereof accordingly; the Meeting for the choice of Representa-
tives to be held alternately in the Town of Richmond and the said District,
and to be regulated by the Selectmen of the Town or District where the
meeting shall be held.
Sec. 2. And be it further Enacted that the lots lying east of the original di-
viding line between the proprietors of Yokun and Mount Ephriam, so called,
notwithstanding they are not included in said district of Lenox, shall pay taxes
toward building a meeting house in said District — til it is so far finished as
the meeting house in Richmond now is — and settling a Minister in said Dis-
trict; and they shall be exempted from paying taxes towards settling a min-
ister in the said Town of Richmond; and the said Town of Richmond shall
not have any benefit of any of the public lands lying east of said original pro-
prie ary line.
Sec. 3. And be it further Enacted: That all assessment of rates and taxes
agreed upon by said original proprietors shall be in full force, and may be
levied, collected and applied, in like manner as if this Act had not been made.
Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, that William Williams, Esq. be and hereby
is empowered to issue a Warrant to some principal inhabitant of said District
of Lenox, requiring him to call a Meeting of said inhabitants, in order to
chuse such officers as, by law, towns are empowered to chuse in the month
of March, annually.
FEBRUARY 25, 1767 THIS BILL HAVING BEEN READ THREE SEV-
ERAL TIMES IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IS PASSED TO BE
ENACTED. (S) Thomas Chshing, Speaker
FEBRUARY 25, 1767 THIS BILL HAVING BEEN READ THREE SEV-
ERAL TIMES IN COUNCIL, IS PASSED TO BE ENACTED. (S) A. Oliver,
FEBRUARY 26, 1767 BY THE GOVERNOR. I CONSENT TO THE EN-
ACTMENT OF THIS BILL. (S) FRA. BERNARD.
TOWN OF LENOX, MASSACHUSETTS
1767 — Bicentennial — 1967
Lenox, in the center of the Berkshire Hills, largely owes its history and
development to its situation. Fear of Indian invasion and the trackless moun-
tains proved a barrier to settlers from the east. It was not until 1750 that Jon-
athan Hinsdale, driven by a desire for solitude, Left the growing town of
Hartford and built the first log cabin in these wilds. To his disappointment,
other settlers from Connecticut followed.
When the French and Indian War ended, most of the families returned
to their half-tilled fields. By 1762, a serious attempt at settlement was begun,
when the General Court sold a tract of land including the present towns of
Richmond and Lenox were included under the incorporated name of Rich-
mond. This was only a year following the formation of Berkshire County
from the great county of Hampshire. The central mountain range made the
Township so unwieldy that on February 26th, 1767, the Act was passed for
incorporating the Easterly part of the Town of Richmond into a district by
the name of Lenox. The Act stated this would "remedy many inconveniences
to which the inhabitants and proprietors may otherwise be subjected." The
name was derived from the family name of the Duke of Lenox.
The Town nestled in the Beautiful Berkshire Hills has a history made
up of four main periods: The Colonial and Revolutionary period and early
industry, lime kilns, saw-mills, brickyards, paper mills and grist mills. Then
followed the invasion of Hawthorne, other statesmen and writers.
During all of the great literary period the Courthouse and the Library
remained the center of Berkshire life. Then by 1850 the rich and powerful
Samuel Ward, American agent of Baring Brothers, London bankers, pur-
chased and laid out a huge estate, north of Stockbridge Bowl, the first to be
created here. Two brothers-in-law, W. H. Aspinwall and E. J. Woolsey, pur-
chased large tracts covering a whole mountain back of the Church-on-the-Hill.
In the quarter century preceding 1880, twenty six more property holders
were added. In place of the old New England stock, a remnant of which still
survied, came the summer residents and the caretakers of the great estates.
In the last two decades of the 19th Cntury the exodus of the Yankee farmer
went on, and in place of the modest summer home of Colonial simplicity
came the more stately type of villa and chalet. Then came the Greek, French,
and Italian mansions of palatial architecture, and the Tudor and Elizabethan
Halls. In these years the number of large estates increased to seventy five in
all. Some of these are shown in this Historical Program for the Bicentennial.
Symbolic of its high tide was the completion of the Aspinwall Hotel on the
highest point of the ridge which runs down the center of the valley, rising
above the pines like a yellow and white crown on the mountain. The hotel
was a great thing for Lenox, and its loss by fire, April 25, 1931, was a catas-
trophe from which that part of the Town never recovered. This section of land
has been bought by the Town, and is a part of the Lenox Park and Recreation
During all these changes visitors of discrimination were attracted to the
Curtis Hotel, which in 1829 had replaced the Wilson House, built in 1773.
The Registers of the Curtis contains the names of famous poets, generals,
Presidents, Cabinet members, and diplomats from foreign courts. Some of
these returned to take up summer residence in Lenox.
With the coming of the automobile the retrogression of the resort town
set in. The heads of the old families were passing, the enactment of the 16th
Amendment and the Income Tax made the young folk unable or unwilling to
shoulder the responsibility for maintenance of a large estate. Shadowbrook set
the pattern of what was going to become familiar. In 1922 it was sold to the
Jesuit Order for a novitiate. In the following decades this trend continued
with the establishment of the Lenox School for Episcopal Boys, Cranwell,
Foxhollow, Windsor Mountain, and Bellefontaine.
More recently Hope Advent Christian College has been added to the year-
round institutions of learning.
Three years after the Berkshire Symphonic Festival was organized by
Miss Gertrude Robinson Smith in 1934, Miss Mary Tappan and her neice Mrs.
Rosamunde Hepburn, presented their estate, Tanglewood, to the Boston Sym-
phony Orchestra as a permanent home for the Festival. It was the vision of
Serge Koussevitsky, the Conductor of that time, which has made the Festival
the outstanding musical event of this country.
During the Second World War activities at Tanglewood continued on a
small scale, but at the end of the War concerts were resumed in the Shed. The
summer population is estimated at 7247, and the probable year round popu-
lation is about 5000. This is not a startling growth from 1946, yet it has doubled
in that time. Under normal conditions, the population growth is controlled
by the ability to provide jobs, and this includes the year-round recreation
and tourist facilities. Eastover has been remodelled into an all-season attrac-
tion, and parts of some estates have been divided into residential develop-
ments. The Lenox Machine Co. and the Van Zandt Co. have made significant
improvements in Lenoxdale. Predictions for full employment at the General
Electric plant in Pittsfield are favorable. Paper mills seem destined to expand
their business facilities, and new housing will attract residences of a subur-
ban nature when there are more sanitary sewers available. According to the
last Town Report, the Master Plan study of Lenox will be completed during
the bicentennial year. There is a regional planning board which should pro-
vide a great deal of help in the further development of Lenox. In its 200
years, Lenox has continued to prosper under the Town Meeting form of gov-
ernment. We have every reason to be proud of our past, and confident of our
THE LENOX COVENANT
"WHEREAS, the Parliament of Great Britain have of late undertaken to
give and grant away our money without our knowledge or consent, and in
order to compel us to a servile submission to the above measures, have pro.
ceeded to block up the harbor of Boston; also have or are about to vacate the
Charter and repeal certain laws of this province, heretofore enacted by the
General Court, and confirmed to us by the King and his predecessors; there-
fore, as a means to obtain a speedy redress of the above grievances, we do
solemnly and in good faith covenant with each other —
First, That we will not import, purchase or consume or suffer any person
for, by, or under us, to import purchase or consume in any manner whatever,
any goods, wares or manufactures which shall arrive in America from Great
Britain, from and after the first day of October next, or such other time as shall
be agreed upon by the American Congress nor any goods which shall be
ordered from thence from and after this day, until our charter and constitutional
rights shall be restored, until it shall be determined by the major part of or
brethren in this and the neighboring colonies that a non-importation
agreement will not have a tendency to affect the desired result or end or
until it shall be apparent that a non-importation or non consumption agree-
ment will not be entered into by the majority of this and the neighboring
colonies except such articles as the said general congress of North America
shall advise to import and consume.
Secondly, We do further covenant and agree that we will observe the
most strict obedience to all constitutional laws and authority, and will at all
times exert ourselves to the utmost for the discouragement of all licentiousness
and the suppression of all disorderly mobs and riots . . .
Thirdly, we will exert ourselves, as far within us lies, in promoting peace,
love and unanimity among each other, and for that end we engage to avoid
all unnecessary lawsuits whatever.
4thly, as a strict and proper adherence to the non-importation and non-
consumption agreement will, if not seasonably provided against, involve us
in many difficulties and inconveniences, we do promise and agree, that we will
take the most prudent care for the raising of sheep, and for the manufacturing
all such cloths as shall be most most useful and necessary, and also for the
raising of flax, and the manufacturing of linen further, that we will, by every
prudent method, endeavor to guard against all those inconveniences which
might otherwise arise from the foregoing agreement.
5thly, That if any person shall refuse to sign this or any similar covenant,
or after having signed it shall not adhere to the real meaning and intent
thereof, he or they shall be treated by us with all the neglect they shall justly
deserve, particularly by omitting all commercial dealing with them.
6thly, That if this or a similar covenant shall, after the first day of August
next, be offered to any trader or shopkeeper, in this country, and he or they
shall refuse to sign the same, for the space of forty-eight hours, that we will,
from henceforth, purchase no article of British manufacture or East India
goods from him or them until such time as he or they shall sign this or a
Witness our hands, dated Lenox 14th day of July AD 1774.
Isaiah Smith Jr.
Elias Willard Jr.
Jacob St. John
David Clark Jr.
Job St Leonard
James Richards Jr.
3 7381 0008 8832 2
THE NEW ENGLAND MIND
The New England Mind has found expression in two different Lenox
Organizations. One of them of course, is the Shakespeare Club, which spon-
sored this Historical Book and Program.
This allows good men to entertain the hope, that separated from politics
and the pursuit of the buck, from the melting pot in which we now dwell,
we shall be permitted to mingle prophets, patriarchs and apostles who
have shone in former times as the servants of God and benefactors of men
So don't let it be forgot that there was once in Lenox an organization,
which might be called the illustrious predecessor of the fine Shakespeare
Such was the Lyceum Club.
From the EAGLE of January 13, 1841.
The Lyceum was addressed by the Rev. Doctor Shepard.
After noticing in general terms, a number of topics that might with pro-
priety be discussed on such an occasion, the lecturer proceeded to discourse
more at large upon the superior pleasure that a man of cultivated mind exper-
iences over the progress that has been made in the Arts, Sciences, Education,
Government, Ethics, etc. the honorable part borne by our own country men
in this advancement, and adverting to the influence that the Bible had in
forming our Government. That the human mind being the only thing that
comes unfinished from the hands of the Creator, although containing the
elements of perfection, needs unceasing attention, would we have it attain
the sublime elevation of which it is susceptible. Animadverting upon the
disposition of many to seek for the showy and unsubstantial ornaments
of learning, without obtaining those useful and necessary parts that lie at the
foundation of mental cultivation; like one who having a glimpse of the
superstructure of an edifice, admires and determines to build one like it,
without regard to the foundation on which it rests and for want of which it
ultimately falls. That we have improved upon the systems of Education in
Europe by divesting it of much of its tedious minuteness; for by having
what is known condensed and properly classified we sooner become aquainted
with all that is essential. So much is already known that he who makes him-
self fully acquainted with all is not likely to have much time left for making
new discoveries. As the scientific architect makes use of the labor of the ignor-
ant in collecting and bringing together the materials for most beautiful
structures, so by means of printing, the experience and experiments of com-
mon minds are collected and preserved. That it is characteristic of the age
to subject the discoveries in science to a rigid course of experiment. That
after all, the science most essential to the well being of man and which has
improved as much as any other since the time of the Ancient Philosophers is
TOWN OF LENOX, MASSACHUSETTS
1767 - - Bicentennial - - 1967
Charles F. House, Chairman
William D. Roche George J. Bisacca
Mary Jane Bender, Deputy Julia E. Conklin, Secretary
James H. Pelton Anthony Fiorini
Helen Mac Donald Mary Mac Donald
Anna E. Mitchell Joseph E. Martin
Historical Souvenir and Program
Marshall of Parade
First Day Covers
First Town Meeting
Religious Heritage Days
History of Lenox
William L. Hallowell
George J. Bisacca
Donald R. Grody
Harold E. Humphrey
William J. Leary
Joseph H. Nolan
George E. Mole
Edward G. Conklin
Alexander T. Halpin
Anna R. Alexandre
Raymond L. Trabold
David H. Wood
Marion R. Hollingsworth
J. P. Kimball
COVER DESIGN— Past Selectman
Charles G. Stanley